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Duke women's basketball to retire four-time All-American center Elizabeth Williams' jersey

<p>Elizabeth Williams was a four-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year and anchored Duke in the paint from 2011-2015.&nbsp;</p>

Elizabeth Williams was a four-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year and anchored Duke in the paint from 2011-2015. 

For the first time in almost nine years, a Blue Devil jersey will be added to the rafters of Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Duke will retire four-time All-American center Elizabeth Williams' No. 1 jersey at halftime of its game against No. 15 Kentucky Dec. 29, the team announced Monday. Williams was the first player in ACC history to become an AP All-American four times and averaged 14.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per contest during her illustrious career from 2011-2015.

“For me to sit here and say that my jersey is going to be retired is so surreal. It's really difficult to put into words what it will mean to have my jersey hanging in the rafters among Duke basketball legends," Williams said in a release. "This may be a basketball achievement, but its meaning extends far beyond the lines of a court. From the nine-year old awkward basketball player to the young woman in her second year of professional basketball, I thank any and every one that made my dreams possible and led me to this moment.”

The Virginia Beach, Va., native will join Alana Beard and Lindsey Harding as the only Blue Devils to have their jerseys retired. Harding's jersey was retired in January 2008. J.J. Redick was the last men's basketball player to have his jersey retired in February 2007.

The 2015 National Defensive Player of the Year, Williams was selected fourth in the WNBA Draft and has played for the Connecticut Sun and Atlanta Dream. She was named the 2016 WNBA Most Improved Player. 

Williams was a four-year starter in the paint for head coach Joanne P. McCallie at Duke and wasted no time making her mark as a tenacious rebounder and shot blocker. She won ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors in each of her four seasons and helped the Blue Devils win ACC regular-season titles as a freshman and sophomore. In both of those seasons, Duke also advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament.

“Elizabeth has impacted Duke women's basketball and Duke University in a remarkable way," McCallie said in the release. “Her talents, work ethic, and academic focus combined with her enormous individual success on the court separate her from so many other student-athletes across the country. All of us are so excited for this very special, rare, and unique recognition.... This truly is the highest honor possible and certainly well-deserved."

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